How to react

If, despite your best efforts, the drinking activity takes place and someone loses consciousness, is no longer responding, is having difficulty breathing, has a weak pulse or begins vomiting repeatedly, dial 911 immediately.

You should also call the Poison Control Centre (1-800-463-5060). If the incident occurs during business hours, you should call the nearest CLSC, as well.

Do not leave the person unattended while waiting for help to arrive.

Adult Recovery Position

The recovery position can prevent an unconscious person from choking to death on vomit by ensuring they are resting on their side and not on their back. When someone has passed out, but can still be roused, has good colour and is breathing easily, recovery position is the safest way for them to rest. Follow the instructions to place a person in recovery position.

  1. Check for consciousness. Loosen all collars, ties and belts to increase ventilation. With one hand on the forehead and the index and middle fingers of the other hand on the chin, tilt the head back to clear and check the airway. Keep your hand on the victim’s forehead and, if necessary, use two fingers to remove anything blocking the airway. Be careful not to push it further into the throat.
  2. Start with the victim on his or her back, legs straight and together, head straight. Kneeling next to the victim, place the near arm straight out from the body, slightly above shoulder level. Bend the elbow at a right angle, keeping the palm facing up.
  3. Grab the far arm.
  4. Position the hand over the near ear. Place your own hand over it, to hold and protect the head.
  5. With your other hand, grab the victim’s far leg behind the knee, bending it and lifting the leg so that the foot is flat on the ground.
  6. Keeping your hand over the victim’s to protect the head, gently roll the victim toward you by pulling the far knee over and to the ground. Position the leg at a right angle and keep it there by placing the foot against the knee of the straight leg.
  7. Gently remove your hand from the victim’s head, holding the elbow with your other hand.
  8. Leave the victim in this position and monitor his or her breathing. Cover the victim with a blanket or coat and watch for any changes in vital signs. Keep one hand on the abdomen at all times to monitor breathing until emergency assistance arrives.